Lakers/Jazz Game Two Chat

Kurt —  April 21, 2009

NBA 2009: Lakers Beat Jazz 113-100
It’s a good sign that normally nervous Lakers fans biggest concerns yesterday were whether the fans at Staples should be doing the “We Want Tacos” or “Utah Sucks” chant and if they are in bad taste. (I personally think the second chant is in bad taste, while the tacos just taste bad.) It was a great game to be at.

In some ways it was a perfect game for the coaches — the outcome was never in doubt but there was plenty for the coaches to pick apart and push the team on after the game. For example, the play in the entire second half, particularly on defense. In the first half the Lakers were moving their feet and bigs were rotating well, in the second half they got lazy and that led to penetration by Utah’s guards, sloppy reach ins by Lakers players leading to fouls, and a horrid job keeping the Jazz off the offensive glass.

Darius talked a little about the fouling.

The Lakers kept on fouling and the Jazz benefited from it by going to the line and staying aggressive. And let’s forget about Crawford for a second and understand that the Jazz we bullying their way to the basket. If you’re defending those types of plays/players, you must play better position defense and cut off driving angles in order to make the offensive player stop, change directions, pass, etc. The Lakers didn’t do any of those things, rather they reached more and were late on rotations. And on a couple of occasions they just let the Jazz go right by them seemingly saying, “score or miss, I’m not going to foul right now”. This happened with Gasol letting AK47 get right to the basket and miss a layup and Odom letting Harpring do the same. Next game we must do better.

Expect the game not to be called as tight and a more physical contest. The Jazz are likely to try to ugly it up. Both teams need to adjust to that.

For Utah, Memhet Okur is a game-time decision, although reports in the morning papers out of Salt Lake call him unlikely. That really hurts Utah, they need him to pull Gasol or Bynum out to the three-point line, opening up the paint when D-Will drives the lane. There was very little pick-and-roll from the Jazz without him in the lineup.

The Lakers did a very good job in the first half of last game in inducing the Jazz into jumpshots (and they are not a good jumpshooting team). The Lakers again need to dare them, and to keep them out of the paint.

Bottom line tonight — I don’t care if there is a “We Want Tacos” chant or not, although you’d like to think in the playoffs fans would have more important things to care about. But I hope there is reason for the chant.


329 responses to Lakers/Jazz Game Two Chat

  1. not great stuff from kobe this quarter

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  2. Yeah, we want ShanWOW

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  3. Play inside and this is a win for sure.

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  4. I like Farmar coming off the bench at the time out with energy, smiling and high-fiving guys. I’d be lying if I said his diminished role didn’t make me worry that he’d get despondent.

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  5. Jazz playing much better defense, if they play like this in Utah and get Okur back, we’re going to have our hands full unless we step up our intensity.

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  6. someone explain to me why fisher is still playing

    nothing against the guy but
    when it’s not your night
    IT’S NOT YOUR NIGHT.

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  7. Well, we DO have a great supporting cast, no doubt about it.

    It’s just that ours fit Kobe and the Cavs’ fit LeBron. Problem is that Kobe is a Knight to LeBron’s Queen; Kobe at his best highlights others and really makes them look great, while LeBron at his best makes him gathers attention to himself.

    Irony is, of course, that they’re both known for the exact opposite – Kobe is known for his centricity while LeBron is known for him giving up the ball (for a superstar, that is)

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  8. I sort of miss the energy we had in the first quarter… it’s been single digits for a while now. This Jazz team has no idea how to give up, do they?

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  9. Fluff sideline reporting in the playoffs = not cool.

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  10. Kobe!! That was a niiiice shot.

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  11. OK, Kobe’s just showing off with that shot.

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  12. That’s the first good defensive sequence from the Lakers I can recall…

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  13. Shannon is making his case to get a lot more minutes.

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  14. you know, for such a sloppy quarter, we still played them even.

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  15. We’re really fighting to maintain that 11 pt lead or so 🙂

    Would be kinda discouraging if the Jazz find out that no matter how hard they play, the final score always show a 10+ margin.

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  16. The way Brown is playing, Farmar probably feels like this guy right now…

    http://familydollarstretcher.com/images/money%20flying%20away%20from%20wallet%20cartoon.jpg

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  17. Wow. First serious Phil interview I’ve seen in a long time.

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  18. “unconscionable” is such a great word.

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  19. Alright, my TiVo just caught up to the live action, and I’ve gotta say that Pau should be taking every second shot. He’s hitting all of his jumpers and everything that he puts up with his back to the basket! Also, where did Lamar go in that third quarter?

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  20. Looks like Portland will even the series.

    Sasha looked near tears, wow. I think he felt he was robbed of the first positive play he’d made all night.

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  21. Can anybody remember a game when Brown didn’t have a great plus/minus number?

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  22. Also, I would love to see some kind of Houston miracle over there in Portland– I really am not looking forward to the possibility of having to play the Blazers in Portland.

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  23. Is it just me, or is the refereeing seriously going south…?

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  24. It’d be nice to see Sasha hit some open jumpers pretty soon. He’s due.

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  25. I think the refereeing has become increasingly ticky-tack, but at least it’s fairly ticky-tack.

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  26. Why is Williams suddenly making it rain?

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  27. He’s Deron Williams, it’s what he does… if he had any help at all, his team would be very scary. Right now they’re still scary, but not quite as much.

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  28. Utah and LA have 43 rebounds combined in this game.

    Let’s just say offense has had the upper hand tonight.

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  29. My feed is really freezing up on me. Anyone have links other than justintv?

    Anyway, what’s the moral of the story tonight? Start strong?

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  30. Anyone see that drive by Miles a bit ago where he drew the foul on Bynum? Did he travel when Sasha had his hand on the ball?

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  31. Is this the NBA or the YMCA?…this is the second game now of ticky-tacky officiating.

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  32. Man, Deron Williams is something else. He’s pretty much single-handedly keeping the Jazz in the game. 6 3-pointers and you get the feeling there are more to come.

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  33. Wow, Shannon. That’s the same shot Sasha has missed all year.

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  34. Wow. Odom wrestles the rebound from 3 Jazz players and then knocks down the corner 3. Sums up the night he’s been having.

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  35. I’m surprised Kirilenko doesn’t give Kobe more trouble. Usually long defenders in his mold give Kobe some trouble. Maybe he’s a step slower than Prince?

    That Brown move was straight out of his Mich. St. days. I haven’t seen that so far as a Laker, which shows just how contained he’s staying within his role.

    Drew, even Rihanna is embarrassed for you now.

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  36. Pau in/Drew out.
    Quickly please¡

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  37. Andrew has really cooled off since that big start tonight. He might be getting fouled every time he makes a move or he might just be going too weak, I can’t really tell.

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  38. …and it’s over in Portland.

    If you have tivo and want to watch it, I’d suggest not clicking that link.

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  39. bynum’s getting good post position, but then he’s making an unnecessary pivot and exposing the ball. If he just went up straight and straight up he’d get a bucket or at least a trip to the FT line.

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  40. joe wright — agreed. Drew is just not going strong or is expecting/hoping to be bailed out by calls he shouldn’t be counting on. I’d say his jitters came back; he’s mishandled the ball not a few times tonight.

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  41. Adam Morrison the first one off the bench. True, it was to wrap his arms around Luke in a slightly creepy hug, I love the attitudes of our bench guys. Those are the subtle things chemistry is made of.

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  42. Bynum is out of gas, time to bring Pau back in.

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  43. If you told me a year ago that out two best bench players right now would be Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown, I would have laughed in your face. I, apparently, am an idiot.

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  44. I doubt you’d have been the only one laughing, Nick…

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  45. Why does Reggie keep calling Shannon Brown, “Sharon” Brown? I mean, they’re both girls names, but still…

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  46. Bynum is completely ouy of the game.He s a great player but his brain doesn t work as fast as his legs.

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  47. Utah needs to forget the offense and just let Williams fire away.

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  48. Wow what a bailout. Was that really a foul or a Reggie Miller flop?

    Good things do not happen when Ariza tries to attack off the dribble.

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  49. Fisher is now the sixth Laker to be in double-figures, that’s a team game kids.

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  50. could reggie miller’s observations be more pedestrian?

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  51. I take it back, he’s the seventh.

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  52. It’s a 3-point game! What happened? 🙁

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  53. It’s anybody’s game now…

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  54. Love that. Crucial situation, they passed up Kobe in the post to go into Pau. I don’t care that he coughed it up, 9 times out of 10 good things will happen when going through Pau.

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  55. Maybe the Lakers will wake up after this game and beat the Jazz’s face in like they should have to begin the series.

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  56. Lakers not playing with much energy or urgency.

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  57. If game one felt like a regular season game, then I would have to say game two REALLY feels like a regular season game. Why do we hate holding leads?

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  58. Pass the ball inside,stay open and we will get great shots.I hope this game doen t end in a jump shots contest.

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  59. we really should have kept shannon out there

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  60. snoopy – that’s all well and good, but pau got the ball way too far out on the block. If he’s not gonna take the jumper (which he didn’t) he gives the advantage back to Boozer on defense.

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  61. Why is it a close game and I can’t seem to get worried?

    Oh wait, maybe there’s nothing wrong with that, obviously our players aren’t worried.

    Anyway, both teams have identical free throw percentage, though the Jazz made it to the line more. We also have identical FG attempts at this point too.

    Fun stuff.

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  62. I just noticed that Carlos Boozer looks like a bald Zachary Quinto and it made me feel a little better…

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  63. Pau’s proven to be effective from the low and high post. He didn’t make the smartest decision by driving into traffic, but I’m just glad we’re not seeing Kobe jack up bad shot after bad shot. We’re sticking with what works well.

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  64. What was Kobe thinking?!

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  65. That was a painfully stupid pass by Kobe.

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  66. Now if we could actually make our free throws and avoid turning the ball over, we might be able to put this game away… eventually.

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  67. What the hell is Kobe doing with that pass????

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  68. Hold the ball! We have the lead!

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  69. pretty bonehead play kobe

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  70. If only the Lakers had locked in on D like this from the start, we would be having a very different conversation right now…

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  71. Stop! Kobe time!

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  72. lol Justin Timberlake looks like a nerd. Biel looks slightly embarrassed.

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  73. that was PG16 defense..

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  74. Is there a more quietly clutch guy than Pau right now? He’s the machine (blasphemy, I know).

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  75. That 2 blocks from Pau and Kobe s jump shot made the deal.

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  76. Craig Hodges for President!

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  77. I’m not sure if there is such thing as a loud assist, but tonight Trevor Ariza has had a quiet nine assists all the same…

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  78. I’m still waiting for something amazing to happen on our floor.

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  79. Anyone else watching the FSN broadcast and catch Phil dropping f-bombs after that timeout? I’ve never seen his face so red.

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  80. at least the quick turnaround (game 3 on Thursday) means less healing time for Okur?

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  81. Heh, that smothering ‘defense’ by the Jazz on kobe would be something you would only see on some of the more fleshy nightclubs.

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  82. On the whiteboard after the game: 14? Really not like that. Seriously.

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  83. Ariza is a starter on my “I’m getting a raise this offseason” team.

    Brown
    Gordon (he hopes)
    Ariza
    Millsap
    Bass

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  84. Okur’s one of my favorite players, I hope he returns to full health soon. Maybe in Game 4…

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  85. I think I still like the MVP chant better than the Tacos chant though….

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  86. It wasn’t pretty, but this is the playoffs, survive and advance is the name of the game now. Survive and advance.

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  87. Well, now it’s a 10 pt difference as opposed to 13. Game 3, 7pt game. Game 4, 4 pt game, and we have a sweep 😉

    Anyway, we’re not playing them as convincingly as the Cavs are playing the Pistons, but it’s starting to be a true 1-8 matchup now.

    To think that just last year these two teams met at the WCF!

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  88. snoopy2006…we are trying to beat utah…the last thing we need is another 3 point shooter to spread the floor…

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  89. It was painful to watch the fourth the way the refs killed the rhythm.

    How about Pau’s D in close games this year? He has had a few blocks that have helped us seal the deal. He gets very little love for his defense, but at the end of games he has been money.

    Not sure why they gave Kobe a little extra hold there at the end. Couple that with the hostile environment in SLC and a road playoff game, and we should probably be on nova watch for game 3.

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  90. I think it’s worth remembering that the difference between the two team in the west and the eight team is only 6 games. Meanwhile, in the east the difference is 23 games. Not to make excuses, but Kobe’s right when he’s says the Jazz aren’t a normal eight seed.

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  91. Things to do….
    1. Stop committing stupid fouls (Watching you Vujacic)
    2. Box out…don’t even look at the ball when it goes out! Find a man and don’t let him inside!
    3. Be smart about passing and minimize TOs.

    Things you can’t really do: stop Deron Williams. This dude is playing out of his mind.

    Game was too exciting for my taste.

    PS. I love Trevor Ariza

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  92. And please Laker fans….lose the *insert team* sucks chant. Don’t ever disrespect the opponents. Don’t give them fuel for fire.

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  93. Nick’s point is fairly salient. The difference between Utah and Detroit is heaven and earth at this point. Utah is a stronger team than Atlanta down in the East. Comparing our performances against Utah to Cleveland’s against Detroit’s isn’t exactly a great way to gauge our performance. Granted, we could be playing a lot better, but Cleveland isn’t going to play a team comparable to the teams we have out West until the ECF (assuming Orlando makes it that far).

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  94. Peanut Butter Spread April 21, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    UGH Finally that game was OVER!

    Why do all Lakers/Jazz games feel like 5 hour games?!

    They never end!!!

    That beings said, had a feeling this game was going to be close and ugly.

    Refs gave the Jazz too much leniency, so much fouling down low and they just ignored it. Seriously. What the heck, refs?!

    Lakers though, need to wake up. Letting the Jazz cut into another 20 point lead. Not a good pattern. I’m not happy with the way the Lakers played tonight (at least from the last few minutes of the second quarter to end). I know Cavs “lost the lead” too, but come on, while the Jazz are a good team, the Lakers are too good of a team to keep doing that two games in a row.

    Deron Williams was almost unstoppable tonight, great game from him.

    Rebounding still sucks. Carlos Boozer outrebounded 3 Lakers in the paint. WTF.

    Turnovers. WAAAY too many. Kobe, WTF, do not throw a half court pass with more than 1:00 minute left in the 4th quarter and a measly 5 point lead! GAH! I know Utah has players with long arms, but too many of our passes were lazy passes. Again, WAKE UP! Play passionate playoff basketball please!

    AND DEFEND! good lord. Thank goodness Pau had like two epic blocks in the 4th quarter.

    Not looking forward to Game 3 at Utah 🙁 Especially with how the refs have been calling the games. I know I’m complaining about the refs, but seriously, how the heck were the Jazz not fouling on half those plays?!

    Cruise control Lakers makes me irritated. Happy for the win and all, but no more cruise control Lakers.

    I’ll take the W, but I hope the Lakers start moving around instead of watching one person go at like 3 defenders. Too many times, we were caught just ball watching instead of making cuts and making it easier on ourselves with the offense. Pau needs more shots!!

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  95. utah would sweep detroit

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  96. No, I actually didn’t realize that Okur played for the Jazz and could shoot the 3.

    It’s called 1) wishing the best for an opponent you respect, and 2) wanting an opponent’s best shot, and believing you can take them at full-strength.

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  97. We need to play a lot better than we have to take Utah at full strength… especially at home.

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  98. True enough, the separation between 2-8 is relatively meaningless out west. But I’m with Hollinger in this one: the west has some inflated wins thanks to the doormats that didn’t even win 20 games.

    So while it’s logical to say that there’s no separation between 2-8, it’s kinda false saying that Jazz is better than Atlanta on Wins alone.

    Anyway, our goal should be to go 4-0 on this one and rest. The series between 4 and 5 tend to go on a bit, but not so sure if losing Mutombo qualifies as an addition by subtraction. I would much rather face a squad that’s happy just to have advanced to the next round, then a team with some truly annoying, outspoken fans.

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  99. Peanut Butter Spread April 21, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    I’m a little disappointed with this win tonight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for a win and I know the Jazz aren’t a typical 8th seeded team and will go on scoring runs … but we spotted a 20 point lead AGAIN only to have it cut down to like 3.

    To quote Joel Myers, “No good.”

    Too many turnovers. Not boxing out. Committing stupid fouls.

    I guess Phil has to write again: “14? Not like that” but I think he should change it to what Fish wrote last time, “24. Game 4” because I’m having horrible flashbacks to last year’s finals with these two games.

    No, I’m not pushing the panic button or doubting our Lakers. I just want to see them execute better all FOUR quarters. I know this team is good and can get better and is on the brink of something special, which is probably why I get so irritated after these types of games.

    And I know we give grief to the Laker celebs that watch the game, but I really liked the camera showing how excited Justin Timberlake looked. It was like watching a grown man regress back to a little kid in a candy shop.

    Anyways, I’m not looking forward to Game 3 if the Lakers keep playing like this.

    And was it just me or did Drew’s hands turn into Kwame’s?

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  100. Harold, while what you say is true to a point, where Hollinger is wrong is that he discredits those numbers and then is all about a different set of numbers. You want to look at intangibles then you have to say that Utah is better than Arizona because Utah is just a better team the Arizona, wins be damned. Personally, I only bring the numbers into the discussion because it provides something empirical to illustrate my point, the Jazz simply are not a typical eight seed.

    All of that being said, however, the fact is that the Lakers could be playing a lot better. The defense could be better, and I think that while the offense is firing pretty well, we could still stand to show some more poise at that end. Either way, though, we just need to keep winning.

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  101. The Dude Abides April 21, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    All these refs needed to do in order to get this game under control in the 4th quarter was call a flagrant on Collins when Shannon drove the lane at the start of the quarter. It was an obvious flagrant, maybe even a flagrant two, as he fouled him hard at first, then threw him down to complete the play.

    If that had been called a flagrant, perhaps then the game doesn’t get chippy. Instead, the refs saw that (1) the Jazz thought they could get away with murder, so they whistled them for a bunch of touch fouls, and (2) the Lakers had been angered by the non-flagrant, so they whistled them for a number of touch fouls.

    Those types of fouls had rarely been called in the first three quarters, but they felt they had to call them in the 4th to get the game back under control. Well, all they had to do was call the flagrant on Collins. At least they didn’t call a flagrant on Lamar in the final two minutes for that hard foul on Brewer. Anyway, I find this happens fairly often in the NBA when obvious flagrant fouls are not called. The team that got fouled hard then gets angry and more physical, the team that got away with no flagrant becomes more emboldened, and the refs have to call touch fouls to get the game back under control. Just make the right call in the first place, so this doesn’t happen. Geez.

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  102. I actually liked that too. I remember specifically last year in the Finals Justin Timberlake standing and waving his arms, urging the people around him to stand and cheer too. That’s the kind of enthusiasm we need to show. We sometimes judge celebs harsher, but Timberlake seems genuine.

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  103. Earlier on in this chat there was a discussion about the Jazz not really being dangerous and that as fans we shouldn’t really be concerned as we should definitely win this series. Overall, I agree with that sentiment, but tonight’s game shows that my concern over our play is something that needs to carry over for the rest of this series and as we advance.

    Tonight the Jazz showed that any team with a truly great player (like Williams obviously is) can hang in any given game and push any team to it’s limit. That’s especially true when the better team doesn’t play a complete game and has mental lapses and gives inconsistent effort as we did tonight. We continued to not do a good job on Jazz players not named Deron and it made this game closer than it should have been. Relaxed box outs, bad helping on screens, playing in between in help situations (where we’re not really helping on Deron but not guarding our man either), and just playing in a loose manner were all too prevalent in this game.

    When you add those things to Andrew’s inability to catch and make a move without turning the ball over for the last three quarters, some questionable “playmaking” by every single ball handler at some point during the game, the over reliance on jumpshots when Pau was killing on the low block, and our lack of good screen setting to free up players for easier looks you end up with a game that should have been 15-20 points the entire game and turn it into a 9-11 point game that is stressful at the end. And even though I think Reggie Miller is Captain Obvious, one point he kept making was that when you allow a team with a player as good as Williams to keep it that close, the outcome *is not* guaranteed turned out to be true. I hate to say it again, but we must play better.

    One thing I am looking forward to though is going to SLC to play. That may sound strange, but Kobe has always, especially in the playoffs, stepped up his game when we play on the road. I can recall game after game in San Antonio, Sacramento, Utah, etc that he has had ridiculous production and led us to wins. I want the rest of the team to follow his lead and also see big games from Pau, Bynum, and some of our bench players as well. We have it in us to sweep this team, but we must raise our execution level and play a more consistent game over a full 48 minutes.

    On a side note, Odom was tremendous tonight. His defense and shot making were stellar throughout the entire night and I think he deserves some major credit for how he played. He’s always been a strong performer for us in the post-season and tonight he was at it again.

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  104. Last year Odom got a lot of flak because unfortunately he had to go up against one of the greatest defensive PFs in KG. But interestingly, it seems like this year Odom should have a mismatch in all rounds – Dirk, Bonner, Aldrige, and whoever else are not great defensive players. Ben Wallace is, but Odom is too quick for Wallace. So it’ll be interesting to see if Odom can keep this production level up in all rounds, or if he’ll fall back to inconsistency. I think we’ll naturally see some drops in his play (it’s who Lamar is) but I don’t think we’ll see him disappear like he did in the Finals last year, I think he’ll redeem himself during this year’s playoff run.

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  105. Kobe is 100% right when he says that Utah is not a true 8 seed…

    #245…not nearly as funny as ShanWOW calling D-Will Daryl his post-game interview with Patty O…LOL!!!

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  106. What’s beautiful about this game is that I never felt very threatened. Even when they cut it to 5 or 6 or whatever in the 4th…even with Kobe passing the ball 3/4 of the court with the Jazz already back. That says we’re overconfident. Quite frankly, even in the playoffs you can tell that the Lakers are bored. They are clearly (and i don’t think it’s really arguable) the most talented team in our league. They are playing through three rounds vs teams that aren’t considered title contenders. It will be interesting………

    or maybe we just go 12-0 before we snatch those rings.

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  107. Peanut Butter Spread April 22, 2009 at 12:46 am

    Happy Birthday to Jack Nicholson!! Glad the Lakers etched out a win on his 72nd!

    Also, I don’t think the Pistons (healthy and currently constructed) have a stone’s chances in defeating the Jazz in a 7 game series. Especially a healthy Jazz.

    Like Kobe said, the Jazz are not a conventional 8th seed. Heck none of the 2-9 WC teams are conventional 8th seeds.

    LO’s help defense on D-Will down the stretch was awesome. I just wish he’d get in the paint more for some of them rebounds.

    Oooh … if Shannon is mispronouncing D-Will’s name, then I’m having a horrible flashback to when Tracy Mcgrady last year wouldn’t say his name correctly. Careful there Shannon.

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  108. Well, I agree that Utah is not a ‘true’ 8 seed in that there’s very little that separates them and, say, the Mavericks or the Hornets.

    But I still think they are what they are, and will not do markedly better than Detroit, especially with Okur out of the lineup.

    Anyway, I am waiting for a Pau takeover that’s long overdue. He is a legitimate franchise player who got his team to the postseason before, and perfectly capable of taking over for a game.

    As for Lamar, I wonder why it is that we suddenly see him playing better. Is it because he has lost all burden by playing off the bench?

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  109. Dikembe Mutombo post game: “For Me, Basketball is Over.”

    That is sad. I, for one, will miss the finger wag.

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  110. I still remember Mutombo at Denver in the days past, a block monster for sure.

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  111. Peanut Butter Spread April 22, 2009 at 1:49 am

    I feel so terribly about Dikembe Mutombo. I wanted to see him play forever and ever. such a great guy.

    I wish Mutombo all the best.

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  112. Darn mutombo had always been a favorite of mine…

    Remember Dikembe’s pure joy when Denver won over seattle in the first round of the playoffs?

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  113. the other Stephen April 22, 2009 at 6:57 am

    man…DEKE was an incredible boon to houston as a franchise and city. he remains one of my favorites.

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  114. 310

    I knew it was over when I saw that replay. It’s a shame, because apart from everything else about him the man can still play basketball.

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  115. Really, once again the game was kept close by a 9-0 Jazz run to close the 2nd quarter. After that, we closed quarters pretty strongly which led to us playing them even in quarters 3 and 4.

    But I have to agree with Darius – on offense, whoever getting covered by Boozer or Millsap (Bynum / Pau) needs to get the ball and go to work. Too many jumpshots.

    I will say, however, that although Bynum was clearly out of rhythm offensively (maybe trying too hard to draw a foul), his sheer physical presence on offense prevented the doubles on Pau that took us out of what we wanted to do in the post.

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  116. The Lakers’ ebb of energy and intensity after gaining a sizable lead is intriguing. I wonder what will it take to shake them out of it, if anything will shake them out of it. A loss? A home loss, perhaps?

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  117. Basketball as a whole is now a little less joyful with the loss of Mutombo. He is arguably the best human to ever play the sport, both on and off the court. You wish after all he’s done, after all he’s given to others, after all the lives he touched, that he’d at least be able to leave the game on his own terms. Basketball has lost one of its greatest heroes today, but hopefully basketball’s loss will be the world’s gain. Mutombo is such a great person and great competitor, so even having to go around the world in crutches won’t stop him from giving his time and his joy to the people around him. I will miss Dikembe Mutombo. Basketball will miss Dikembe Mutombo.

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  118. http://lakers.freedomblogging.com/2009/04/21/bynum-fighting-through-pain-on-the-outside-of-his-knee/15569/

    I’ve had this before – it’s really not something that goes away on its own. The pain can be mitigated by PT / stretching, but it’ll last until the off season when he can rest.

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  119. 304, Darius,
    “the over reliance on jumpshots when Pau was killing on the low block”

    That’s been an issue all season; with the way defenses focus on Kobe, and the offensive skill of Pau (shooting and passing), and to a lesser extent Bynum, why do anything else?

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  120. I think people may be forgetting that this is really the first extendfed playoff experience for three of the Laker key players – Shannon, Ariza, and Bynum. Two of these three have really come up big and the third is learning quickly what it is all about. The talking heads aren’t saying anything about this lack of Laker experience, but we should be glad the series is as tough as it is for these people.

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  121. Firstly, on the game, I’m taking a lot of joy in these wins. Offensively, we seem to mostly be back on track. Granted, the porous Utah “defense” is exaggerating the appearance of things. But overall, the offense has looked awesome and it seems like everyone is trusting each other. Defensively, the Lakers showed in the first half of the first game, and to some extent the first half of the second game, that they are capable of executing the plan and making the other team look very very very bad.

    Goodness, Deron Williams showed how astronomically good he was last night. I know in my head that he’s a top tier player, but the way he can score and distribute simultaneously is pretty phenomenal. 35 points on 65.2% eFG , (6 made three pointers), 4 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 blocks. His only negative is the 7 turnovers. That is an impressive stat line. But more than that, I was impressed watching him. Those weren’t a quiet 35 points and 9 assists. He was definitely making his mark. Utah has to be thinking about how to build around him. Get him a true big man.

    I’m okay with the Lakers being a little bit flip the switch with the Jazz. They have demonstrated that the Jazz are not on the same level and this team has shown over and over again that they will get up for the big games. Being that they’ve built leads of 22 and 20 in the first half, it’s hard for me to blame them for not bringing the effort. (I mean, if you finished your work at 11am, would you be going 110% until 5pm?) Blowing a team out in game 1 or 2 of the first round doesn’t logically translate into winning game 3 of the finals. Different teams, different month, different situation. It’s not going to transfer. These were both fairly convincing wins. I’m happy.

    I respect what Mutumbo did off the court immensely but I never liked him as a player. I hope he ends up being alright after surgery, if needed.

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  122. Apologies for the double post, I wanted to say that I also have iliol-tibial band friction syndrome, which it sounds like Andrew is dealing with. It doesn’t affect your power, it’s just very very painful when it gets inflamed. Sometimes it can flare up withing 20 minutes of running and sometimes it’ll wait hours. The pain can definitely affect how you run, jump, or pedal as the pain tells your brain to stop doing what it’s doing. Rest and stretching are the orders of the day. I’ve never gotten mine to go completely away.

    I’m sure you can google it, but basically the band that runs from your butt to your shin along the outside of your leg gets inflamed as it rubs against your knee because it’s too tight or something. There isn’t really a proven effective surgery. It’s just a repeated-use injury that can be helped along, but it’s very difficult to get rid of, in my experience.

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  123. nomuskles – exactly. I’m sure Bynum has access to all sorts of cutting-edge PT techniques (although perhaps none as good as my trusty old foam roller), but as long as he’s still playing and practicing he’s going to have to deal with the effects.

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  124. Solid playoff win. Of course, I will now point out all I didn’t like about the game. Two things stood out: 1) Phil should (as he admitted) shorten the rotation a little bit (Trevor should get 30-35 mins in my opinion). 2) Bynum played very selfishly, each time he got the ball there was no survey of the defense, no pass out and re-post, just turn and shoot. If Gasol doesn’t do that, no way Bynum should be. I still think he’s working on getting back into form, but there is no reason for him to be the focal point of our offense. He needs to move the ball, he’s a good passer.

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  125. Scariest quote of the year, from David Thorpe (concerns about the Lakers):

    “Only that they might be falling into the old Pistons pattern of turning it on and off. But I’m not concerned, yet.”

    That point really hits home given how consistently frustrating the Pistons were for years.

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  126. The biggest thing that I think bothered me with yesterday’s game, and with game 1 as well, is the same as earlier in the season. The Laker’s don’t do sweeps well. Look at what the Spurs repaid the Mavs with for beating them in game one; complete humiliation and destruction. (“We are THE SPURS. Fear us!”) I can’t see our Laker team of this year doing that.

    We can call it being “a finesse team”, “bored”, “conserving energy” or whatever we want. The pattern is that we get ourselves a 20-point lead and then immediately slow down, for any of the above reasons–I get the impression that this Laker team is one that will never play any harder than they have to to win. And they can play hard, they can explode, just look what they did on that February road trip right after Bynum went out with an injury. But in this first playoff round they don’t have to do that to win, so they don’t. Instead, they coast, stand back a little bit, and then they step it up again around the 6-minute mark on the 4th, to make sure that they still get the win.

    That annoys me. Aside from looking arrogant, I don’t think it’s nearly as safe to do it in the playoffs as it was during the regular season.

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